A former TV soap actor is returning to his Fylde roots to offer young aspiring actors the benefit of his experience.
Tom Atkinson, who earned rave reviews as teenage serial killer Lachlan White on ITV’s Emmerdale, is back living locally ahead of beginning a new stint at drama school in the autumn and is eager to catch up with the friends and local performance organisations of which he has such fond memories.
Still only 20, the former pupil of St Michael’s Primary School, Weeton and Carr Hill High School, Kirkham, spent four and a half years on Emmerdale and terms it “a great learning experience”.
But he still has fond memories of performing on amateur stages in Fylde – and particularly a production of Billy Elliot at Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion staged by St Annes’ Clifton Academy when he was 11.
Tom readily describes that show as his greatest stage memory from childhood - and he is looking forward to returning to Clifton Academy next month to helm a series of what are described as intensive acting classes.
His performance in the title role of the dance musical came shortly before he took up a place at the Sylvia Young theatre school in London - and it was from there that he got the opportunity in Emmerdale as a 15-year-old.
“I will always look back really fondly on my time at Clifton Academy and will always be grateful to Peter Taylor, who directed Billy Elliot, for the faith he had is me,” said Tom.
“I’m back here for a few months now and it will be great to give something back to the local roots which gave me my start.”
Tom filmed his final Emmerdale scenes late last year and the fact his character is still alive, although in prison for multiple murders, means a return might one day be on the cards.
But at the moment, Tom says that is unlikely - and he is eager to extend his range with stint at drama school starting later this year.
“I think it is important to keep growing as an actor and you never stop learning,” said Tom, who beat rival contenders much older than him to the role of Lachlan.
Tom’s intensive acting classes at Clifton Academy in St Alban’s Road, St Annes will run for eight weeks, every Thursday from May 2.
Sessions for those aged 13 and over will run from 5pm to 6pm and age 12 and under from 6pm to 7pm.
Details of the classes from Clifton Academy on 07712 862192.